Monday, March 1, 2021

A Duet of Duos

Kit-Kat Duos: Mocha & Dark Chocolate and Mint 
 - Aldi
American Kit-Kats are finally getting a steady stream of creativity and innovation! 
Previously, all my fun Kit-Kat reviews came from flavors that were sold overseas, like wasabi or bakeable Sweet Potato, but in the last four years we've had a healthy amount of American flavors. Seasonal offerings, like pumpkin pie, red velvet, and raspberry, a few local-flavors (like California Strawberry), and now stand alone packs of Apple Pie, Birthday Cake, and these Duos. 
The mint Duo came out over a year ago, and I guess it was successful, because it's stuck around and now the line is expanding with this new mocha flavor. So, why not check both out and see what they have to offer? 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Every Little Thing, Gonna be Alright - Everything Brioche Bagels

Everything Brioche Bagels
- Aldi

Is there anything more comforting than a toasty bagel filled with cheese, egg, and bacon (my breakfast meat of choice) on a cold winter morning? Especially after shoveling snow. Just thinking about it makes me feel warm and cozy.  

While the east coast NJ/NY/PA area has always taken their bagels quite seriously, it seems like other food-stuffs have taken notice and bagels, or more specifically "everything," has become an American obsession. 

In the past year we've had everything bagel seasoning in several flavor variations from tons of different brands (including Aldi), everything bagel potato chips, and even everything bagel ice cream! 

Personally I prefer onion bagels, you get similar flavor but less stuff all up in your teeth, but I get it. The mixture of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onions, dried garlic, and sea salt can amp up any savory breakfast sandwich combo, but we all know what it tastes like. So, when I spotted a brioche version at Aldi I thought I would see if changing the base would make a huge difference.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Was this a mistake? - Dark Blend Coffee Coca-Cola

Dark Blend Coffee Coca-Cola - Aldi

We heard you like caffeine, so we put some caffeine in your caffeine. (Any of you out there even remember Pimp My Ride?)  Anyway, Coke released a new line of sodas blended with coffee. There are three flavors available: caramel, vanilla and dark blend. That said, my opening line is true, these do have more caffeine than normal Coca Cola, but it's still far less than a typical espresso drink or any of the energy drinks on the market. So their angle  is less about energy boosting, and more about flavor.

I guess there is an audience out there for such a product? Personally, I was really skeptical about the whole mash-up. I thought it would either be so lightly flavored you could barely taste the coffee, or it would be so over the top it would be disgusting. Needless to say, I ended up seeing a 4-pack at Aldi and decided to jump in with both feet. 

So, I have four cans of this stuff (three now that I gave one to my buddy Jared, @farbeyondsippin on Instagram), so let's see how it tastes and what I can do with it!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Puccho, is that you? - Puchao


Lookie what I found at Walmart! Puchao, or really, Puccho, just repackaged and rebranded for international audiences. Over the years Hi-Chew has gotten far easier to get in the states, with various flavors available at places like Walmart, 7-Eleven, and Five Below. I guess Puccho realized they have a similar enough product, so why not make it look similar and target the same audience? 

But, will it taste the same? Or did they reformulate? 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Garlic Bread, Without The Bread? - Parmesan Garlic Kettle Chips

NEW Kettle Brand Parmesan Garlic Chips
- Walmart

If you're eating something Italian, and it's delicious, it's usually thanks to garlic and parmesan. This dynamic flavor duo is responsible for some of the most delicious things in the world, pasta, pizza, and best of all, garlic bread.  

So, when Cheesy Garlic Bread won Lay's Do Us a Flavor contest when it was first introduced, I wasn't surprised. What did surprise me, however, is how quickly that new "permanent" flavor of chips would disappear. A year or two and they were no where to be found. Then, a few years later, a dupe would start rotating as a special buy item at Aldi, and then at Lidl, and now here? Well these aren't officially marketing themselves as "garlic bread," so that might not be a fair assessment, but...isn't it close enough?   

Will these taste like kettle-style garlic bread? 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Quickie Review: Dr. Pepper & Cream Soda, Better than the Original?

Dr. Pepper & Cream Soda

Last I heard, Dr. Pepper had a limited edition birthday cake flavor that was only available through some kind of online birthday club thing. I love Dr. Pepper, but I hate the anxiety and rush that comes from chasing down limited edition products, especially when they're limited to online releases, raffles, sign-ups, and social media contests. So, I didn't participate, but I was sad that I missed out. Then there was a 2015 Dr. Pepper themed water ice at Rita's that was only available in Texas, no where near me. Again, kinda bummed I missed out on that as well. 

That was the last I had heard about anything Dr. Pepper related. So when I saw Dr. Pepper and Cream soda at Walmart I thought, "huh, why not?" 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Crushing It? - Crush Soda themed Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids

Crush Soda Candies - Dollar Tree

Since the branding, flavors, and pretty much everything about these two Crush themed candies are the same, I thought it would be fun to compare them and find any differences. (Other than one being sour, obviously.) Will all four flavors be the same, just with a sour-coat of paint? Or will the flavors actually differ in their Fishy or Kid forms? Let's find out!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Red Velvet Rantings and Aldi Cookies

Benton Red Velvet Cookies 

It's trendy to take chocolate-whatever, add red food dye, top it with white frosting, and promote it as "red velvet." But it's wrong! In case you're new here, "red velvet" is one of my rant-triggering flavors. (That, and "birthday cake.") So, let the ranting commence! 

(You can skip right to the review by clicking the continue reading link below)

I love baking, and I watched The Food Network obsessively in the 90's and 2000's, back when they were more focused on actual baking/cooking and not reality TV. I have seen tons of bakers discuss red velvet, because it's a real, historical, baking-thing. The coloring and texture comes from a reaction in the ingredients, typically cocoa powder, baking soda, vinegar and buttermilk. 

Also, red isn't the only "velvet" in town. Throughout baking history, there have been tons of other flavors, since it's about getting a certain texture in your cake and not a flavor in and of itself. But what most people get hung up on is the dang coloring. Hence all the "pink," "green" or "blue velvet" recipes on Pinterest. The color has next-to-nothing to do with how it tastes! (As long as you're not using beet juice or a distasteful food dyes.)

A "Red Velvet Cake" is a chocolatey cake, with a burgundy-brown coloring, and a velvety mouthfeel. Typically topped with a white frosting, to highlight the coloring of the cake itself, which may or may not be cream cheese based. (These days cream cheese is the go-to, but at one point it was ermine.) Not just a chocolate cake with a ton of red food dyes, or beets, or whatever else you dump in there. 

So, we have established that the coloring doesn't affect the flavor, it's more-so a reaction, AND that the main reason to get "Red Velvet" is the texture of the cake itself. So... how do you make other things like gum, or cookies, "red velvet?" You don't. 

But "cream cheese filling" Doesn't exactly have the same decadence or punchiness as "red velvet." It's all about spin and marketing. (Ever see Thank You for Smoking?

Which brings us here, to this review. Why would I buy cookies that are "red velvet" given that I clearly think it's a marketing scam. Especially after the Benton Hot Cocoa cookie fiasco?